Praxair, Inc. has reported an enterprising full-year 2011, reflecting on a number of contracts secured and ‘industry-leading profitability’.

The Danbury, Connetcicut-based industrial gases major reported fourth-quarter net income and diluted earnings per share of $420m and $1.38, respectively.

Results include a gain on an acquisition and charges relating to severance and business restructuring actions, primarily in Europe.

Reflecting on the company’s strong growth and full-year highlights, Chairman and CEO Steve Angel said, “In 2011, Praxair again delivered strong growth combined with industry-leading profitability.”

“We signed a record amount of new contracts in 2011 and finished the year with a backlog of $2.7bn of new projects under construction which will come on-stream in 2012, 2013, and 2014.”

Improvements

Sales in the fourth quarter were $2.796m, up 7% from the prior-year quarter due to higher volumes and prices, partially offset by negative currency translation. Reported operating profit in the fourth quarter was $618m.

Adjusted operating profit of $619m was 10% above the prior-year quarter due to higher volumes and prices combined with productivity improvements.

“We expect strong project activity again in 2012 and we remain confident in our ability to execute in a manner our customers and shareholders have grown to anticipate”

Steve Angel

For the full year of 2011, reported net income was $1.672m and reported diluted earnings per share was $5.45. Full-year sales grew 11% from 2010 to $11.252m, due primarily to higher volumes and prices. Reported operating profit was $2.468m.

On a regional breakdown, Europe was surprisingly leading the way in terms of quarter four percentage growth, with sales of $380m up 12% on the prior year. However, it should be pointed out that this is primarily due to the acquisition of increased ownership of Yara Praxair in Scandinavia – partially offset by lower volume.

Europe aside, sales grew most in South America, up 8% to $532m in fourth quarter 2011. North America saw fourth quarter sales up 7% to $1.399m; underlying sales grew 10% from higher volumes and prices, largely attributable to growth in the manufacturing, energy, chemicals and metals markets.

Sales in Asia were $325m in the quarter, up 6% from the prior year, driven by volume growth in India, China and Korea including new plant start-ups. Sales growth came primarily from metals and chemicals customers.

 

2012

close-up of foreign currencies

Source: sxc

Looking ahead, Praxair appears confident that the positive growth will continue. Angel explained, “As we enter 2012, our outlook remains positive, particularly for the North American energy, manufacturing and materials industries which we serve and the growing economies in Asia and South America.”

“We expect strong project activity again in 2012 and we remain confident in our ability to execute in a manner our customers and shareholders have grown to anticipate.”

For full year 2012, Praxair expects sales in the area of $11.7bn to $12bn, up 4% to 7%. On an underlying basis, Praxair is expecting to sustain sales growth of 8% to 12%, similar to 2011, from volume, price, project start-ups and acquisitions.